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Més Que Un Club – What Gyms Can Learn from FC Barcelona!

Written by James Charles

Giants of world football (soccer), FC Barcelona’s motto is ‘Més Que Un Club’; translated into English ‘More Than a Club’. But how does this materialise itself in their day-to-day operations[i] and, more importantly, how could it be applied in a health and fitness club setting with a view to creating a strong, loyal fanbase like that of a football club?



Many of the decisions made within FC Barcelona are voted on by their 144,000 registered supporters. Each empowered to have their say in the future of their club as a key member of the FC Barcelona community.

How could you bring your members closer to your decision-making process? Are you using Net Promoter Score® to ask them for their feedback? If so, are you showing them you have acted on their input?



Whilst FC Barcelona’s ultimate focus is on winning, as it is with any professional sports team, they believe this should not come at the expense of being true to their style; delivering a consistent, quality product they are proud of which is instantly recognisable to the viewer – playing the Barcelona way (skillful, often beautiful, possession-based football).

In the pursuit of success, however that is measured for you, try not to lose sight of your brand identity; what your customers expect from you. Make sure every touch point reinforces this and aligns with the master plan. Think about the longer-term impacts – this is not a short-term win at all costs race to the bottom.



Again here, as with their strong identity, FC Barcelona are about more than just winning games. Both on and off the field, players and other club staff represent the organisation and are expected to embody the values of humility, effort, teamwork, and respect. The world is watching.

Does your brand have a set of tangible core values which your members, both existing and prospective, and staff can buy into and share with you? Are these effectively communicated? What is your club’s reason for being? When a new member signs on the dotted line or a new employee joins the team what are they becoming part of and what will this say about them to their friends and family?



Did you know that FC Barcelona don’t just play football? The club also has Handball, Futsal, Basketball and Roller Hockey teams who play under the FC Barcelona name; widening their appeal to a fanbase with diverse sporting preferences – ‘Més Que Un Club’ in its most literal sense.

How do you ensure your club is offering enough variety to appeal to a varied local market, whilst also retaining your identity, being true to your brand and doing what you are good at? Are you effectively marketing everything you do – group exercise, badminton, healthy lifestyle programmes, community groups etc. – not just the gym? If your members are using other facilities to supplement their membership with your club, do you have the space, resources, and expertise to bring these external activities in-house? Have you asked your members what’s missing from your club experience that would improve it for them?


Learning and Development

Victor Valdes, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, Pep Guardiola, Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and of course a certain Mr. Lionel Messi are all graduates of FC Barcelona’s La Masia youth development system[ii]. Invested in and developed from a young age, these men personify the spirit of FC Barcelona, rewarding the club with 3,118 appearances and just over 100 years of service (to date) between them. FC Barcelona pride themselves on producing home-grown talent developed from within, many of whom were born and raised in the local area.

How are you developing your team? Do they have a career plan? Can they visualise their progression through the ranks within your organisation? What do they need to do to get there? Are you a CIMSPA Employer Partner? Are your staff CIMSPA Members and are you supporting them with their CPD? Have you created an environment where they are happy and performing to the best of their abilities? How likely would they be to recommend working at your club to a friend?


Social Change

FC Barcelona are committed to creating social change through the Barça Foundation. The foundation works with charities and government organisations to support disadvantaged children and young people around the world, helping them with issues such as access to education and social inclusion.[iii]

Getting involved in your local community could be a great way of engaging the population, letting them know you are there and starting to build relationships which could become memberships. There are many groups of adults and children not currently taking part in regular physical activity, for a multitude of reasons, who would benefit greatly from participation in sport. Educating them to the health and wellness benefits, showing them it is accessible and how enjoyable it can be is a great starting point. Much like many football clubs are, how can you become the hub of the community?

Let’s Work Together to Create an Awesome Club Community.

We’d love to show you how our software can help you effectively engage with your members and deliver an exceptional club experience!

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Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

[i] https://www.fcbarcelona.com/en/club/more-than-a-club

[ii] https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2016884-the-20-best-players-to-have-graduated-from-barcelonas-la-masia-youth-academy#slide0

[iii] https://foundation.fcbarcelona.com/what-we-do